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About Us

We are the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that helps millions of Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service. Working hand in hand with local partners, we tap the ingenuity and can-do spirit of the American people to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation.

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From Our Blog

By: Bill Basl, Director of AmeriCorps


You can sense the excitement, the sense of purpose, from the moment you enter the offices of The Service Collaborative of Western New York.  

Situated in a lower income area of Buffalo, this structure serves as an anchor and beacon of renewed hope that great things are happening in the neighborhood.  It’s more than the structure that looks new; there are new faces among the employees. National service entrepreneurs help design initiatives that utilize service as a strategy to rebuild lives and communities in this iconic city.  This vision brings hope and 21st century evidence-based outcome initiatives that engage many in helping build the new Buffalo.


The extraordinary creativity of this unique national service intermediary organization emanates from the visionary leaders, most of whom are AmeriCorps alums themselves. The true test of these creative values rests in the actual members who accomplished the most diverse collection of activities in any city. The YouthBuild AmeriCorps members pictured below not only transformed a neighborhood by rebuilding an abandoned house identified by Habitat for Humanity, they learned new construction skills and enabled a family to celebrate their first Thanksgiving in their new home.  These are the faces of a new generation of leaders who stand up each day and whose actions speak of what it truly means to rebuild and reclaim communities.

By: Bill Basl, Director of AmeriCorps

You can sense the excitement, the sense of purpose, from the moment you enter the offices of The Service Collaborative of Western New York.  


Katie Neal knows her way around a solar electric system. After earning her Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering, she launched her career working as a residential and commercial solar designer with SolarCity. But after spending the first part of her career behind a desk, she recently elected to shift to a more hands-on focus.

Now she has the opportunity to get up on the roof each day as GRID Alternatives North Valley’s newest SolarCorps Construction Fellow under the national AmeriCorps program, with additional support from Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

“What drew me to construction is that I was always telling people what we were going to install but I didn’t have any personal, hands on experience with it,” Katie said. “I thought gaining that experience would not only be interesting and fun to do, but make me a better designer and kind of round out what I know about solar.”

As a woman who has worked in traditionally male-dominated fields for her entire career, Katie is also committed to increasing gender diversity in the workplace. She feels that the most important way to create an environment that is amenable to the participation of women in the solar workforce stems from providing opportunities for confidence-building.

“Training is the number one thing. Before I ever go out and do something hands-on, I want to know what I’m doing and have an overview of it.  A lot of women don’t want to jump in and possibly make a mistake or waste material. Training definitely increases comfort and confidence.”

By: Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Washington Post


Katarzyna Massie, Rita Nirola and Connie Winternitz attend a Bone Builders class at Potomac Community Methodist Church. (Sue Schick)

It doesn’t take much more than a chair, a set of dumbbells and an occasional ankle weight to make Pat Miller, 83, feel strong. Twice a week, Miller heads to Potomac Community Methodist Church in Maryland, where she spends an hour doing resistance and weight-bearing exercises designed to strengthen her bones. Sometimes that means balancing on one leg while slowly lifting the other with weights strapped to her ankle, or lowering herself into a chair squat.

The aptly named Bone Builders class has become a staple in Miller’s fitness routine, one that for decades solely consisted of taking and teaching yoga classes. That all changed a few years back when Miller was diagnosed with osteopenia, a condition that softens the bone and puts her at greater risk for developing osteoporosis.

Her doctor recommended Miller integrate some resistance training into her workouts, and she did for a time, but she lost interest until a friend encouraged her to sign up for Bone Builders, a free class sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services for ages 55 and up.

“What I notice is, I have more energy when I’m doing the classes on a regular basis,” Miller said. “It makes a difference. I haven’t had any fractures in years.”

Bone Builders is one of a number of fitness programs specifically designed to improve bone density and combat osteoporosis. The disease, which causes bones that have lost density or mass to become susceptible to breaking, affects the lives of an estimated 54 million Americans, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. It can occur in men and women at any age but is most common in older women, especially after menopause.

By: Lois Nembhard, Acting-Director, Social Innovation Fund

Early and effective treatment can help people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) – manage infections, improve overall health, and reduce risk of transmitting the virus to others.


AIDS United, a 2010 Social Innovation Fund (SIF) Classic grantee, devoted five years to working with communities across the U.S. identifying and testing solutions that remove barriers between people with HIV and the treatment and prevention services they need. These barriers include poverty, a lack of stable housing and transportation, mental health and substance abuse issues, and stigmas attached to HIV, sexual identity, and drug use. 

AIDS United recently released the results of the rigorous evaluation of its SIF-funded Access to Care (A2C) initiative. Through A2C, AIDS United and its 12 SIF subgrantees identified underserved and hard-to-reach HIV-positive populations and linked or re-connected them to HIV/AIDS treatment services. The A2C subgrantees worked with local partners to identify access problems in their communities and designed new ways to deliver medical care and other supports. 

By: Max Finberg,  Director of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America)


Iris Francisco (Left) and Anna Silk, AmeriCorps VISTA Members

As Americans gather to give thanks, it is a most appropriate time to thank those who were here first - our country’s Native American citizens. We have all heard the stories of the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, who, as a sovereign nation within these United States, still reside in Massachusetts as one of 567 federally recognized tribes. We owe each one of them an apology for not honoring our treaty commitments and a debt of gratitude for their hospitality over the centuries since that first feast of thanksgiving in 1621.

AmeriCorps VISTA has a proud history of honoring our nation-to-nation relationship by providing VISTA members to tribes and tribal organizations to build capacity and address the widespread poverty that confronts Indian Country. As we commemorate Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month, AmeriCorps VISTA members continue to serve Native America, as others have before them for the past 50 years.

AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program designed to combat poverty across the U.S., and nowhere is this commitment to community-driven programming more essential than in our projects serving Tribal Nations. AmeriCorps VISTA provides the opportunity for tribal community members and others to address issues of poverty, economic inequality, and the health of the community at the grassroots level.

From Our CEO | Wendy Spencer

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